By Jannie Vaught
Stepped out to work in the garden and was driven back into the warmth of a hot tea and time to plan and study. Let’s look at seed preparation. Water soak; many seeds will germinate faster when they are soaked in water before planting directly into the soil. For thick-skinned seeds such as peas and beans soak the night before 8 to 10 hours and plant in the morning, no longer as they will start to deteriorate and fall apart. Sweet peas, nasturtiums, and morning glory for instance.
For thinly skinned seeds such as snap beans soak 2 to 4 hours. Legumes and peas like an inoculant added to the soaking water, N-Dure Premium Inoculant Pea Lentil Vetch by Dirty Gardener is one I use. Added to the water for soaking. Scarification: Ladybird Johnson Wild Flower Center has this to say. Nicking or using freezing to crack the hard outer shell. Rub the seeds with sandpaper, I place a strip of sandpaper inside a can and give it a shake, you can do more this way. Freeze the seeds overnight then soak at room temperature for a few days, seeds that need this are bluebonnets, sweet pea, nasturtium, lupine, milkweed, morning glory to name a few. Even placing in hot water. Stratification: Short period of time.
Winter seed dormancy can be broken by spending a short period of time in a refrigerator, soaking overnight, or even outdoors. Many native perennial and wildflowers will need this cold time. Stratification breaks the embryonic dormancy phase. You may plant seeds in late fall and they come up in spring having their old phase and a little scarification from the soil-sand against the seed.
Vernalization: Long period of time. Some plants or seeds need longer amount of time in the cold up to 3 months. For example crocus bulbs, and peach seeds, plum seeds. An older used way of this is digging the plant, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts and moving them to a root seller in damp sand or sawdust, wood chips. They continue to grow slowly providing food, and are replanted in spring to begin again.
Here is a DIY Potting Soil.
50% sharp sand and 50% sieved compost, for fine seeds 90% sharp sand and 10% sieved compost. The sand makes lots of drainage for the water to flow and the roots will “Follow the water”. Seed starting mix. 50% peat and 50% vermiculite. Remember to use your garden journal and write down what your planting and when and what need these treatments.
Growing green with Jannie